Around 80% of Americans with a gym membership don’t attend – that’s a lot of plastic cards collecting dust in drawers. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first day in the gym or your fiftieth, keeping up your motivation to work out can be challenging. Boredom and schedules get in the way and staying in bed can sometimes be too appealing.
No one can force you to do it because making an active choice to improve your health and fitness is a decision you have to make by yourself. However, here at TRAIN for HER, we want to help you out. Here are a few, tips to help you stay committed and achieve your fitness goals.
1. Take a friend
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. Taking a gym buddy or accountability partner is a highly effective way at staying committed to your fitness. We are social beings and receiving positive reinforcement from our peers encourages us to keep on going, especially when we’re working out.
A study published in the Psychology of Sport and Exercise found that the exercise habits of our friends and family helped boost our own desire to work out. So, grab a willing partner and utilize their company with some friendly competition.
2. Do something you love
Spoiler alert: no one wants to do anything they don’t enjoy. I hate the elliptical, so I opt for a 20-minute run on the treadmill instead. Go ahead and assess your current routine to find the root of what you hate about fitness. If you dread your weekly spin class, stop going. If you love weight exercises, keep doing them.
There are so many forms of exercise out there that you might love. From pole fitness to aerial yoga, it’s worth exploring your options. You could discover your new favorite activity.
3. Keep your goals realistic
“Dream big and you can do anything”, they say. Sometimes, it just doesn’t work. If you’re new to working out, don’t assume you’ll have the stamina and strength of someone who’s been doing it for years. Aim for a 20-30 minute session in the beginning and slowly increase your time the more comfortable it feels.
Also, don’t hold any expectations about what your body should achieve. Our bodies are all different and progress at different rates. Start small and over time your goals will get bigger and bigger, just like your gains.
4. Mix it up
Many achieve great results in the first 12 weeks. After a while however, your routine becomes stagnant and your body stops being challenged, thus no more progress. This often prompts many people to give up because they’re bored and don’t think their efforts are working.
Avoid feeling discouraged. It’s crucial to mix up your fitness workouts every now and then. Not only will this elevate the boredom you feel every time you step on a gym mat, but you will start making progress again. Aim to review your workout schedule every four to six weeks. This is around the time your body becomes pro at handling the stress exercise causes to it. Switch up the treadmill for the elliptical, up your reps on the weights or even increase your kg on those weighted squats. Workouts should never be easy for too long.
5. Dress up
Fitness and fashion are more closely linked than you might have thought. Putting on a cute pair of workout leggings could be the inspiration for you to keep going because when we look the part, we act the part.
Don’t believe us? Researchers at the Northwestern University in Illinois found that participants who wore a professional lab coat performed better at attention-related tasks than those in everyday clothing. “It’s all about the symbolic meaning that you associate with a particular item of clothing.” said Hajo Adam, one of the study authors in an interview with The Atlantic.
“I think it would make sense that when you wear athletic clothing, you become more active and more likely to go to the gym and work out.”
Maybe it’s time to update those old and tired jogging bottoms you’ve been wearing for years.
6. Take pictures
Looking in the mirror is no longer good enough. Taking snaps of yourself will make it easier to see your progress. When you track it on numbers alone, it’s difficult to visualize exactly where you’ve progressed and what you still need to improve.
When you take your initial “before” photos, remember to be honest with yourself. Don’t suck in, take pictures from all angles and don’t use flattering angles. It’ll only lead you to false results.
7. Make sure it’s convenient
Living a 40 minute drive from your gym might seem like no big deal when you first join, but eventually the inconvenience of it will catch up with you. It’s difficult to fit a fitness routine into anyone’s schedule. Adding unnecessary and avoidable travel time into your day will only see you using excuses like “it’s so far away” or “the traffic is really bad, I’ll go tomorrow”.
If your closest gym is too far away, try at home workouts. Not sure what to do? Use the thousands of free fitness videos on YouTube as your personal trainer. This doesn’t work for everyone, but if you are serious, home workouts could be a great alternative, cheaper too.
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